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2019 NFL Preview: AFC East


KEY ADDITIONS: WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Benjamin Watson, LB Jamie Collins, TE Lance Kendricks, OL Jermaine Eluemenor, WR Antonio Brown

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Trey Flowers, OT Trent Brown, DT Malcolm Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Chris Hogan, DE Adrian Clayborn

DRAFT: 1st round: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State   2nd round: CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt   3rd round: DE Chase Winovich, Michigan   RB Damien Harris, Alabama   OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia   4th round: G Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas   QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn   5th round: DT Byron Cowart, Maryland   6th round: P Jake Bailey, Stanford   7th round: CB Ken Webster, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: The evil empire returns for another campaign but this year without a key cog: tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a Hall of Famer but had lost a step this past season. Still, in the game’s biggest moments, Gronk showed up. Even a down year for Gronk was an elite year for most players. It’s hard to replace that talent.

The two tight ends they brought in to replace Rob, former Patriots Benjamin Watson and newcomer Lance Kendricks, have both been suspended for the first four games of the season, leaving Matt LaCosse starting.

2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn likely starts at left tackle after missing his rookie year with injury. Patriots captain and center David Andrews has been placed on season-ending IR with blood clots, so the Patriots may end up plugging in former Raven Jermaine Eluemenor at center.

Still, the Patriots offensive line is stout, as it always has been since the arrival of Belichick and Brady. Touchdown Tom has been sacked 35 or more times only four times in his career, the most recent in 2017. In ’16? 15 times. In ’18? 21 and longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

Demaryius Thomas joins the Patriots on his retirement tour while Josh Gordon returns after rebuilding his mental health. Despite all the missed opportunities and lost time, Gordon offers upside.

Sony Michel broached the 1,000 plateau in his rookie year and behind a strong offensive line, should put up numbers this year.

Stephon Gilmore had an All-Pro nod last year in Foxborough and the defense finished 7th in points against (20.3)

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship and a strong chance at another Super Bowl trip.

Oh, and as I write this, AB just signed with the Patriots. Sounds like the season’s over already. The Patriots current depth at receiver reads: Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett.

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship for Belichick/Brady and a strong chance at another vacation to the Super Bowl.

Even if Antonio Brown’s dive into madness continues and he ends up not playing a snap for the Patriots, New England, these things are assured. If he does, God help us all.


White finished 2018 with 87 receptions, good for 15th-best in the league and third-best among running backs (McCaffrey, Barkley). Last year, he had a career-high 123 targets (19th best). I don’t like taking players off career years but White’s target share is consistent and the Patriots always scheme him into the game plan. Sony Michel and Julian Edelman are also on my board this year but White has done me well three years running and I don’t see a reason to back off him now.


Week 1: vs. PIT   Week 2: @MIA   Week 3: vs. NYJ   Week 4: @BUF   Week 5: @WAS   Week 6: vs. NYG   Week 7: @NYJ   Week 8: vs. CLE   Week 9: @BAL   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @PHI   Week 12: vs. DAL   Week 14: vs. KC   Week 15: @CIN   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. MIA


KEY ADDITIONS: LB C.J. Mosley, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, C Ryan Kalil

KEY DEPARTURES: G James Carpenter, CB Buster Skrine, QB Josh McCown, CB Morris Claiborne, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama   3rd round: DE Jachai Polite, Florida   OT Chuma Edoga, USC   4th round: TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia   5th round: LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota   6th round: CB Blessuan Austin, Rutgers

SUMMARY: The Jets did something very New York-like this offseason: they bought everything.

Between top-three adds C.J. Mosley, Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, the Jets spent $166 million. C.J. Mosley was an excellent linebacker in Baltimore and was a must-have. Bell, off a vacation year, is a wildcard with dangerous upside and Crowder, with a stable quarterback, has a chance to return to form. Ryan Kalil moves to center from Carolina and Quinnen Williams, a player with HOF talent, enters the middle of the defense. Quinnen likely makes life easier for Leonard Williams, the former USC first-rounder, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.

The Jets lack depth at receiver (Robby Anderson/Quincy Enunwa/Crowder/Josh Bellamy) and Mosley is a linchpin in the linebacker corps. The corners are relatively thin behind Trumaine Johnson. That lack of depth put the Jets in 29th for points against last year. The additions on both sides of the ball should improve that number. Hard to imagine it being much worse but how much better can it be?

Teams that build through free agency generally don’t succeed. Teams are determined by their drafts and the Jets are notoriously bad at drafting. Their future will be determined by Darnold’s sophomore season.

He didn’t look like a third overall selection last year (2,865 yards and a 17/15 split) and was showed up by Baker in a worse situation (3,725 yards and a 27/14 split). Darnold needs to make dramatic improvement in 2019. Hopefully Adam Gase doesn’t sabotage the effort.

Despite being better, the Jets likely miss on the playoffs due to a tough schedule (AFC North/NFC East).


I have no interest in taking a running back one year older and one year removed from football. Bell has high upside, sure, but with a pick that high in the draft, I want to know what I’m getting. There’s no knowing what Bell puts out there in 2019 and for that reason, I’m taking Crowder. The Jets D/ST should be improved and may make a splash or two but I’m going to put my faith in Darnold’s improvement and Crowder’s upside (59/67/66 receptions in his first three years).


Week 1: vs. BUF   Week 2: vs. CLE   Week 3: @NE   Week 4: BYE   Week 5: @PHI   Week 6: vs. DAL   Week 7: vs. NE   Week 8: @JAC   Week 9: @MIA   Week 10: vs. NYG   Week 11: @WAS   Week 12: vs. OAK   Week 13: @CIN   Week 14: vs. MIA   Week 15: @BAL   Week 16: vs. PIT   Week 17: @BUF


KEY ADDITIONS: C Mitch Morse, WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown, TE Tyler Kroft, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, CB Kevin Johnson, G Jon Feliciano, G Quinton Span

KEY DEPARTURES: RB LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, G John Miller, TE Charles Clay

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Ed Oliver, Houston   2nd round: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma   3rd round: RB Devin Singletary   TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss   5th round: LB Vosean Joseph   6th round: S Jaquan Johnson, Miami   7th round: LB Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T   TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

SUMMARY: The Buffalo Bills basically cleaned house on their offensive line this offseason. Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford will start while free agent acquisitions Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Quinton Span all slot in with the returning Dion Dawkins.

Removed from that, I’m rather unmoved by the Bills roster. Buffalo had one of the weakest receiving cores in football for Josh Allen’s rookie year. This offseason, they bring in John Brown and Cole Beasley as well as TE Tyler Kroft, all of whom were complimentary players on their former teams. These receivers won’t be able to bail Allen’s out of precarious situations. I’m already not high on Josh Allen. Wasn’t at the draft either. His offensive situation isn’t helping that stance.

While the defense may not jump out on paper, they were solid last year. They finished middle-of-the-road in points against (23.4) but second in yardage allowed (4,706). When a team on paper outperforms expectation, it is a result of players overachieving or coaching. I’m more inclined to give some praise to coach Sean McDermott, though it would be wrong to not applaud efforts from the unit, specifically Tre’Davious White, Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds and the defensive line.

In addition to an inept passing game, LeSean McCoy is now gone, headed for the Midwest. The Bills were right to alleviate a contract that had run its course but now are left with journeyman Frank Gore, rookie Devin Singletary and Jaguar T.J. Yeldon. The Bills offense has to come from somewhere. It’s hard to believe they could be any worse (30th yardage, 31st pass, 30th points) but if the Bills can’t replicate 2018’s ninth-best rushing attack, they might be. The Bills season depends on it.


With the offense as dead as a Buffalo winter, the defense is the only place to turn. They were the seventh-best defense in standard ppr last session. As they say, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.


Week 1: @NYJ   Week 2: @NYG   Week 3: vs. CIN   Week 4: vs. NE   Week 5: @TEN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. MIA   Week 8: vs. PHI   Week 9: vs. WAS   Week 10: @CLE   Week 11: @MIA   Week 12: vs. DEN   Week 13: @DAL   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: vs. NYJ


KEY ADDITIONS: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Josh Rosen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Allen Hurns

KEY DEPARTURES: DE Cameron Wake, OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, LB Kiko Alonso, OT Ja’Wuan James, WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, G Josh Sitton, S T.J. McDonald, DT Akeem Spence, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson   3rd round: G Michael Deiter, Wisconsin   5th round: LB Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin   6th round: T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State   7th round: FB Chandler Cox, Auburn   RB Myles Gaskin, Washington

SUMMARY: The Dolphins finished 7-9 which is rather impressive considering their offense had a ppg of 19.9. Teams under 20 don’t normally fair well but one way or another, Miami managed seven wins.

They’ll be lucky to make half of that this year. The good news is that Miami is trying to tank for Tua. It would be very concerning if they were trying to compete and ended up being that bad.

With pretty much every possible tradeable asset gone, the Dolphins are a bare bones roster. A receiving core of bust DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant will not scare anyone. The offensive line is relatively unknown and the verdict is still out on Kenyan Drake. Mike Gesicki could return to his Penn State form and provide a spark?

Xavien Howard and former Pat Eric Rowe will cycle in the corner spots with long-timer Reshad Jones at safety. The defensive line will be carried by Clemson first-rounder Christian Wilkins.


Miami’s passing offense finished 30th last year but Fitzmagic has come to town. As we saw last year in Tampa, Fitzmagic hasn’t died yet. He still has some magic left in the beard. The issue with magic is that it’s entirely unpredictable. Don’t draft Ryan but pay attention to his performances. He could go off at any minute. Be ready to jump on the train.


Week 1: vs. BAL   Week 2: vs. NE   Week 3: @DAL   Week 4: vs. LAC   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. WAS   Week 7: @BUF   Week 8: @PIT   Week 9: vs. NYJ   Week 10: @IND   Week 11: vs. BUF   Week 12: @CLE   Week 13: vs. PHI   Week 14: @NYJ   Week 15: @NYG   Week 16: vs. CIN   Week 17: @NE

AFC NORTH   AFC WEST   AFC SOUTH  NFC NORTH   NFC WEST   NFC EAST   NFC SOUTH   Playoff Predictions   Preseason Power Rankings

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2019 NFL Preview: AFC West


KEY ADDITIONS: S Tyrann Mathieu, DE Frank Clark, DE Alex Okafor, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Carlos Hyde, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Bashaud Breeland

KEY DEPARTURES: S Eric Berry, C Mitch Morse, CB Steven Nelson, DE Justin Houston, RB Kareem Hunt, CB Orlando Scandrick, WR Chris Conley, RB Spencer Ware, S Ron Parker, LB Dee Ford

DRAFT: 2nd round: WR Mecole Hardman, Georgia   S Juan Thornhill, Virginia   3rd round: DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illnois   6th round: CB Rashad Fenton, South Carolina   RB Darwin Thompson, Utah State   7th round: Nick Allegretti, Illinois

SUMMARY: Patrick Mahomes last year was nothing short of magical. In all my years watching this sport, Mahomes’ 2018 was right up there with the best I’ve witnessed. Incredible arm talent and more importantly, the patience and methodical nature of a war room maestro, Mahomes looked not like a season vet but an all-timer.

But now is a new year, a chance to reflect and to look forward. The Chiefs offense was among the league’s best which overshadowed a disastrous defense, a weakness that eventually revealed itself (2nd-last in total yardage). Many staples of the franchise left this offseason, including franchise safety Eric Berry and pass rusher Justin Houston. In a bizarre move, the Chiefs decided to move on from Dee Ford but then send a boatload of picks to Seattle for Frank Clark. I’m sorry but the difference between Ford and Clark is not a first, second, swap of thirds and a five year, $104 million contract. Few players ever live up to trades that lopsided and Clark isn’t even on the Mount Rushmore of his position. That’s the type of package you send for Khalil Mack, not Clark.

But that’s what Kansas City is rolling with. Backs LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde boost a run game that will need to make up the difference in Mahomes regression. I expect Mahomes to be great once again and among the league’s most efficient passers. Average and even above average players are not capable of Mahomes’ 2018. Only the truly gifted are. This guy’s for real.

But yes, there will be regression. I find it unlikely Kansas City repeats a 35 points per game pace but a rejuvenated defense with a new coordinator should make the Chiefs a more complete team, a unit who will have a chance to demonstrate it during a soft first-half schedule where Kansas City plays their toughest games at home. They also just signed star receiver Tyreek Hill to an extension.

Now, if they can just exercise those playoff demons.


I generally avoid players coming off career years because a regression to the mean often follows. It would be difficult for Mahomes or Tyreek to play better than they did last season. Kelce is a top-three tight end but also going as early as the second round and Watkins was unplayable last year. That leaves Williams. A few weeks ago, I was much more confident in this pick but in the last week, the Chiefs have added LeSean McCoy and Carlos Hyde to their running back group, likely reducing Williams workload. Still, Kansas City is full of offensive talent that’s highly sought after by fantasy players and Damien Williams is the one player that’s falling down draft boards. Williams will still get an overwhelming share of the targets in passing situations and McCoy and Hyde may play complimentary roles. Williams may not be the safest bet on the team but he offers the most bang for your buck.


Week 1: @JAC   Week 2: @OAK   Week 3: vs BAL   Week 4: @DET   Week 5: vs. IND   Week 6: vs. HOU   Week 7: @DEN   Week 8: vs. GB   Week 9: vs. MIN   Week 10: @TEN   Week 11: vs. LAC   Week 12: BYE   Week 13: vs. OAK   Week 14: @NE   Week 15: vs. DEN   Week 16: @CHI   Week 17: vs. LAC


KEY ADDITIONS: QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Thomas Davis

KEY DEPARTURES: WR Tyrell Williams, CB Jason Verrett, S Jahleel Addae, DT Corey Liuget, TE Antonio Gates

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame   2nd round: S Nasir Adderley, Delaware   3rd round: OT Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls   4th round: LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame   5th round: QB Easton Stick, North Dakota State   6th round: LB Emeke Egbule, Houston   7th round: Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati

SUMMARY: The Chargers were never able to put it together in San Diego but have been great since their move to L.A., going 9-7 and 12-4 since the relocation. It’s just unfortunate timing since Kansas City’s rebuild is now a full-powered racecar. The Chiefs have a ton of firepower and the defense should improve.  If the Chargers wanted a shot at a division crown, it was last year.

Melvin Gordon is holding out but the Chargers are right not to make a move. Gordon has averaged a sub-4.0 ypc three of his four years and only broached 1,000 once. That’s not elite production and therefore does not command an elite salary.

Future HOFer Antonio Gates is gone for the Bolts, meaning Hunter Henry has extra responsibility this season.

Keenan Allen is one of the league’s best route runners and the Bolts are lucky to have Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the backfield during Gordon’s absence. The Chargers return most of their starters from a top-ten defensive unit, though Derwin James’ season is up in the air.

The team will go where Rivers does. Philip is looking to improve his playoff win:children ratio and has had a renaissance the last few seasons. He’s been reliable. Does he have another year in him? And how many wins can coach Anthony Lynn steal?


Rivers isn’t a Hall of Fame quarterback but he is an above average regular season passer. He’s thrown for minimums of 4,286 yards and 28 touchdowns each of the last six campaigns. His usage will likely go up during Gordon’s holdout. I got Rivers in the 15th round in one of my drafts following an 11th place finish last year. He’s a steal who can spot in as a starter on a regular basis.


Week 1: vs. IND   Week 2: @DET   Week 3: vs. HOU   Week 4: @MIA   Week 5: vs. DEN   Week 6: vs. PIT   Week 7: @TEN   Week 8: @CHI   Week 9: vs. GB   Week 10: @OAK   Week 11: vs. KC   Week 12: BYE   Week 13: @DEN   WEEK 14: @JAC   Week 15: vs. MIN   Week 16: vs. OAK   Week 17: @KC


KEY ADDITIONS: OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, RB Theo Riddick

KEY DEPARTURES: C Matt Paradis, CB Bradley Roby, G Billy Turner, G Max Garcia, LB Shaquil Barrett, LB Brandon Marshall, LB Shane Ray

DRAFT: 1st round: TE Noah Fant, Iowa   2nd round: OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State   QB Drew Lock, Missouri   3rd round: DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State   5th round: LB Justin Hollins, Oregon   6th round: WR Juwann Winfree, Colorado

SUMMARY: Things could go poorly for Denver fast, facing Chicago, Green Bay and the Chargers in their first five games but with tough games come opportunities to prove oneself. I’m very interested by new coach Vic Fangio and what he plans to do with this squad. The Bears defense last year reminded Chicago of their glory days. Can Fangio utilize Von, Chubb and company to similar standards?

And what of Joe Flacco’s retirement tour? Does he has a little fire left in him?

And is Lindsay a one-hit wonder or a true starter?

How does Emmanuel Sanders return from his Achilles?

There’s just a lot of questions for this team and the only sure thing is that Noah Fant is going to catch a lot of drags from Flacco.


I could have put Fant here given the quip above but Lindsay was a great get for my fantasy squads last year. Lindsay was one of nine backs over 1,000 in 2018 on a 5.4 clip. That clip is unsustainable and Lindsay seems destined to regress if only Joe Flacco weren’t his quarterback. I project Joe to be basic nourishment at most and starvation at worst. The worse Flacco plays, the more opportunity for Lindsay. Who do you got your money on? Lindsay or Joe?


Week 1: @OAK   Week 2: vs. CHI   Week 3: @GB   Week 4: vs. JAC   Week 5: @LAC   Week 6: vs. TEN   Week 7: vs. KC   Week 8: @IND   Week 9: vs. CLE   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @MIN   Week 12: @BUF   Week 13: vs. LAC   Week 14: @HOU   Week 15: @KC   Week 16: vs. DET   Week 17: vs. OAK


KEY ADDITIONS: WR Antonio Brown, OT Trent Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, S LaMarcus Joyner, LB Vontaze Burfict

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Jared Cook, OT Donald Penn, RB Marshawn Lynch, S Reggie Nelson, WR Martavis Bryant, WR Seth Roberts

DRAFT: 1st round: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson   RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama   S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State   2nd round: CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson   4th round: DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan   CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston   TE Foster Moreau, LSU   5th round: WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson   7th round: DE Quinton Bell, Prairie View

SUMMARY: I will have a feature upcoming about the Antonio Brown saga in Oakland so I’m not going to spend time discussing it here. Just know as of this morning, Brown is no longer a member of the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland went all in on free agency this season, splurging more than $150 million on tackle Trent Brown, receiver Tyrell Williams and safety LaMarcus Joyner. That is a ton of money to put into three players and it seems favorable that one if not all of those contracts age poorly.

As for season outlook, I can’t say I’ve seen anything to flip my stance. Three first rounders is nice but the likely misuse of those picks, especially Ferrell at four when he was projected much later, bothers me.

Carr was my 2016 MVP choice back when fourth-quarter comebacks were his daily supper but since that leg injury, he hasn’t found the same form. He’s been mediocre while soaking up a sizable portion of Oakland’s cap space. If the Raiders want to go anywhere before Vegas, he needs to get back on track. 19 touchdowns on a cap hit of $20+ the next three years isn’t going to cut it.

At the end of a bumpy road, Oakland is outmatched by better management and athletes in their own division. Improvement? Likely. Playoffs? Rather dim. A road schedule featuring Minnesota, Green Bay and Houston is just brutal.

Also, their defense was hot garbage last year and I haven’t seen enough improvements to think they’ll be a spring chicken now.


I do not like putting high draft stock in rookies. With the exception of Saquon Barkley last year, most rookies going in early rounds struggle to meet expectations. Josh Jacobs is not an outstanding back prospect when compared to draftees in year’s past. Jacobs wasn’t a standout at Alabama. His usage rate will be high but in this case I’m concerned about the quality of that usage. With Antonio Brown’s departure, acquisition Tyrell Williams moves to the #1 spot. That’s not great for an offense who’s already thin at receiver. However, Renfrow was a standout slot receiver at Clemson and is now in position to move into that slot in Oakland. He’s going undrafted so there’s no need to take him in your draft but keep your eye on him.


Week 1: vs. DEN   Week 2: vs. KC   Week 3: @MIN   Week 4: @IND   Week 5: vs. CHI   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: @GB   Week 8: @HOU   Week 9: vs. DET   Week 10: vs. LAC   Week 11: vs. CIN   Week 12: @NYJ   Week 13: @KC   Week 14: vs. TEN   Week 15: vs. JAC   Week 16: @LAC   Week 17: @DEN

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